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Author Topic: Pembroke Coast Express  (Read 16952 times)
Timmer
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« on: July 16, 2016, 09:57:54 pm »

It is sad to read on UK Rail Forums of the now almost weekly occurrence of the Pembroke Coast Express not making it into Pembrokeshire due to staff shortages:

http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=132135

The writing really is on the wall for this Summer Saturday service to/from London once IEP take over South Wales services replacing HSTs Sad

I'm glad I took the opportunity last summer to head to West Wales when it was more reliable. One can only hope the situation improves for this service in the coming weeks with schools about to break up.
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The Tall Controller
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 10:44:14 am »

I managed to make it to Pembroke Dock this summer. Trains to/from Pembroke Dock need double crews due to the short platforms which probably doesnt help.

As Timmer rightly says, once the new trains come in, the direct services will be withdrawn as they aren't cleared to operate past Carmarthen.
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WSW Frome
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 04:18:05 pm »

I am pleased to say I managed a successful trip from Pembroke Dock to BPW on the 14.55 HST on Saturday 25th June. This was the culmination of an anti-clockwise trip around Wales using an Explorer Rover Ticket (which worked well - only one bus driver challenge!). Using this train was a late decision and I was not aware of the hassles about route knowledge etc., so I was lucky to get a ride. A suitably pleasant, if leisurely trip, and no great weight of customers - many who could well have been priv. ticket users. Naturally I took the Weekend First option to add to the style.

I lived in Pembroke Dock for a while in late 80's, so this was a part trip down memory lane. People have asked about freight on this branch. The answer is a clear none and the run-round loop at Pembroke Dock and siding(s) at Tenby have been removed "recently." So any proposed specials and engineering trains will now be presented with further complications.   
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 05:00:03 pm »

Does it really need to be an HST beyond Camarthen? Do the number of passengers come close to justifying it?
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 05:14:14 pm »

Does it really need to be an HST beyond Camarthen? Do the number of passengers come close to justifying it?

There are remaining a handful of through summer Saturday services remaining which link major cities to British seaside resorts - the very end of services that ran "way back when", in days when there were lots of trains / carriages around that sat in sidings for most of the week and just ran on summer Fridays or Saturdays.  But that has changed now, and the weekend "supertrains" - HSTs and voyagers - to the seaside are run using train which are otherwise employed during the week, but idle on Saturdays.

Also on Saturdays, note, there are no spare "West units" as trains are as busy as during the week ... that's why the "Weymouth Wizard" is an HST and not a couple of 150s - the HST is the only train available.

So it may not need to be an HST, but what else is available?  And although it might not be busy, does it fill a market for some passengers which would be lost if a change of trains was needed? Bear in mind, nearly a half of people will avoid a journey if there's a change,  and perhaps there is a social need to keep these people using the train or for the economies of the towns where they run.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016, 05:31:11 pm »

Does it really need to be an HST beyond Camarthen? Do the number of passengers come close to justifying it?

There are remaining a handful of through summer Saturday services remaining which link major cities to British seaside resorts - the very end of services that ran "way back when", in days when there were lots of trains / carriages around that sat in sidings for most of the week and just ran on summer Fridays or Saturdays.  But that has changed now, and the weekend "supertrains" - HSTs and voyagers - to the seaside are run using train which are otherwise employed during the week, but idle on Saturdays.

Also on Saturdays, note, there are no spare "West units" as trains are as busy as during the week ... that's why the "Weymouth Wizard" is an HST and not a couple of 150s - the HST is the only train available.

So it may not need to be an HST, but what else is available?  And although it might not be busy, does it fill a market for some passengers which would be lost if a change of trains was needed? Bear in mind, nearly a half of people will avoid a journey if there's a change,  and perhaps there is a social need to keep these people using the train or for the economies of the towns where they run.

............I guess if the service is being cancelled virtually every week, only runs for a few months every year and is not economically viable then the question becomes immaterial. Very few people will rely on a service run along these lines and will probably avoid making the journey by rail and go by road which is at least more reliable.

Perhaps it's just a nostalgic wish for past times?
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2016, 08:54:16 am »

the run-round loop at Pembroke Dock and siding(s) at Tenby have been removed "recently." So any proposed specials and engineering trains will now be presented with further complications.
The loop at Pembroke Dock was outside the platform anyway, so not particularly practical to use I presume. Regardless, the steam charters to S.W. Wales (only one or two a year a most as far as I am aware) generally run to Carmarthen with a diesel loco on the rear, which then leads the train to Fishguard / Pembroke Dock. The steam loco is then on the front to haul the train back east.

Does it really need to be an HST beyond Camarthen? Do the number of passengers come close to justifying it?
On the busiest few Saturdays of the year, I reckon the service needs at least 4x23m coaches, possibly even a 5-car train. A 2+8 IC125 isn't required, but presumably there aren't enough units to strengthen the normal service to 4-5 coaches. The rest of the service is generally provided by 2-car 150s, but on summer Saturdays the IC125s result in one diagram which spends a few hours parked in Carmarthen doing nothing. That diagram is a single Pacer. If the IC125s don't run next year (they will run until 2018 I believe), I don't see ATW being able to provide sufficiently long trains for the busiest services since unless they obtain additional rolling stock somehow.
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2016, 09:53:50 am »

If as expected, GWR are going to use 2+4 HSTs between Penzance-Plymouth/Taunton-Cardiff (with some peaks between the two sections) then it may be possible for them to either:

A: Run a possible spare set on Summer Saturdays from Pembroke, whilst this would unlikely reach Paddington, running as far as Newport, Bristol Parkway or Bristol TM would provide useful for onward connections.

B: Simply extend a couple of Taunton-Cardiff services (by using an additional set), again not as good as it is now(when it runs that is) but far better than a two car running as far as Swansea.
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bobm
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2018, 12:50:30 pm »

Looks like the usual Saturday extensions to Pembroke Dock will run again this summer.

https://www.gwr.com/~/media/gwr/pdfs/timetables/2018/may/bt,-d-,web.pdf?la=en
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2018, 12:55:17 pm »

The last hurrah of scheduled HST services to South West Wales. By the end of the summer all Swansea - Paddington services should be IET.
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bobm
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2018, 12:58:54 pm »

I assume they will be HSTs and not a five car IET joining/splitting with another five car at Swansea.  IETs are cleared as far as Carmarthen not sure about further west.
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Timmer
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2018, 06:35:35 am »

Not a good start for the first Pembroke Coast Express of the summer timetable:

08:00 London Paddington to Pembroke Dock due 14:13 will be started from Bristol Temple Meads.
It will no longer call at London Paddington, Reading and Bath Spa.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.


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Timmer
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2018, 06:32:16 pm »

Not a good start for the first Pembroke Coast Express of the summer timetable:

08:00 London Paddington to Pembroke Dock due 14:13 will be started from Bristol Temple Meads.
It will no longer call at London Paddington, Reading and Bath Spa.
This is due to a shortage of train crew.
UPDATE

Looking at RTT this service was reinstated between London and Bristol and ran throughout.
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allaction
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2018, 01:05:33 pm »

Relaxez-vous.... the entire line to Pembroke Dock has been cleared by Network Rail for IET use, although there's as yet no news from GWR as to when the first new train will use it.
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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2018, 01:38:53 pm »

Relaxez-vous.... the entire line to Pembroke Dock has been cleared by Network Rail for IET use, although there's as yet no news from GWR as to when the first new train will use it.

Welcome to the forum, allaction;  I had certainly heard that it was planned to clear it, but then I has also heard it was planned to electrify to Swansea ... good to have in confirmed (good source, I preume  Wink ) rather than just being planned.
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